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Martin Gardner's Table Magic Paperback – July 7, 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martin Gardner was a renowned author who published over 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. He also had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles. Well known for his mathematical games column in Scientific American and his "Trick of the Month" in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner attracted a loyal following with his intelligence, wit, and imagination.

Martin Gardner: A Remembrance
The worldwide mathematical community was saddened by the death of Martin Gardner on May 22, 2010. Martin was 95 years old when he died, and had written 70 or 80 books during his long lifetime as an author. Martin's first Dover books were published in 1956 and 1957: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, one of the first popular books on the intellectual excitement of mathematics to reach a wide audience, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, certainly one of the first popular books to cast a devastatingly skeptical eye on the claims of pseudoscience and the many guises in which the modern world has given rise to it. Both of these pioneering books are still in print with Dover today along with more than a dozen other titles of Martin's books. They run the gamut from his elementary Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing, which has been enjoyed by generations of younger readers since the 1980s, to the more demanding The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings, which Dover published in its final revised form in 2005.

To those of us who have been associated with Dover for a long time, however, Martin was more than an author, albeit a remarkably popular and successful one. As a member of the small group of long-time advisors and consultants, which included NYU's Morris Kline in mathematics, Harvard's I. Bernard Cohen in the history of science, and MIT's J. P. Den Hartog in engineering, Martin's advice and editorial suggestions in the formative 1950s helped to define the Dover publishing program and give it the point of view which — despite many changes, new directions, and the consequences of evolution — continues to be operative today.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Politicians, real-estate agents, used-car salesmen, and advertising copy-writers are expected to stretch facts in self-serving directions, but scientists who falsify their results are regarded by their peers as committing an inexcusable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science swarms with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who unconsciously distorted their work by seeing it through lenses of passionately held beliefs."

"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" — Martin Gardner

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Dover Magic Books
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048640403X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486404035
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric B. Henning on May 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has excerpted material also found in Gardner's mammoth "Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic," and the material, as the title suggests, is limited to items performable in an after-dinner setting. This is the sort of magic, when one produces seemingly off-the-cuff miracles, that helped great magicians, such as Alexander Herrmann, Max Malini, Nate Leipzig and Dai Vernon become legends. For if you can do magic any time, anywhere, with anything, then the magic is not in the props, but in YOU!
The most recent person to take advantage of the power of seemingly casual magic is, of course, David Blaine. He has created the illusion that magic happens wherever he goes. And David Blaine is the magician foremost in the public's mind.
Do not be put off by the apparent simplicity of these magic tricks. Done well, at the right moment, they are reputation-makers. Gardner has a knack for finding excellent yet simple material. This simplicity is usually only achieved by rank beginners and hardened professionals. In this book, it can be yours.
Just one thing: show the author the respect he deserves, and rehearse these well and perform them excellently.
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By Spock on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a clever entertaining if somewhat dated book of tricks and silly stunts that can be performed with ordinary items generally found at a dinner table or otherwise at hand. Some require access to a cloth napkin, which isn't as common as perhaps it once was. Some involve cigarettes, which also seems a little dated given how smoking in restaurants or anywhere for that matter is viewed today. Still this is an impressive collection of tricks that have a high likelihood of being performed impromptu, mostly requiring relatively little or simple slights if any skill at all. Martin Gardner was one of the most creative puzzle and game masters of his time. He apparently also collected and performed magic tricks, and has assembled a delightful selection here. I loved the book and felt his sense of humor come through on every page.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what I was expecting but I should have listened to the one reviewer who mentioned this book is dated -- handkerchiefs, cloth napkins, matches, cigarettes, and 50 cent pieces. If you remove those tricks which require them that's half the book. I'll update my review after I've gone over the card tricks but for me this book is a big disappointment.
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This book is not contemporary. The illustrations are poor and way too few. Kids won't understand it and adults won't need it. I'm a big fan of Martin Gardner's math books but this is totally outdated.
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